Portuguese Colonial Cities in the Early Modern World is a collection of essays on the cities of the Portuguese empire written by the leading scholars in the field. The volume, like the empire it analyzes, has a global scope and a chronological span of three centuries. The contributions focus on the social, political, and economic aspects of city life in settlements as far apart as Rio de Janeiro, Mozambique Island, and Nagasaki. Despite the seeming (and real) disparities between the colonial cities located in South America, Africa, and Asia, this volume demonstrates that they possessed a range of commonalities. Beyond their shared language, these cities had similar social, religious, and political institutions that shaped their identities. In many cases, the civic bodies analyzed in these essays such as the city councils or the MisericÃ³rdias (charitable brotherhoods), no less than the convents and houses of Catholic religious orders, contributed more to making these cities Portuguese than their allegiance to the crown in Lisbon. Rather than dividing the globe into Atlantic and Indian Ocean spheres, Portuguese Colonial Cities in the Early Modern World takes the novel approach of bringing together analyses of the social history of these cities in order to stress their shared aspects as well as to suggest paths for fruitful comparisons. By encouraging further scholarship in this rich, yet understudied subject, this collection will not only further comparisons between cities found within the Portuguese empire, but also raise important issues that will be of interest to historians of other European empires, as well as urban historians generally.
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